The Orvis “20 Days in September” Challenge – Part 3

An early fall leopard rainbow from the Susitna Drainage.

Last month, Orvis challenged anglers to log 20 days on the water during the month of September. They didn’t have to be full days, just a legitimate attempt at catching fish. Anglers were asked to take a picture from each outing and post it to the Orvis Facebook page with the hashtag #OrvisFlyFishing and #20inSep.

I last wrote about my progress about half way through September, at which point I had logged just six days on the water. I knew I had to put in significant effort if I were to even come close to twenty days on the water. So here is how the second half of September went.  Continue reading “The Orvis “20 Days in September” Challenge – Part 3”


3 Things Mat-Su Anglers Should Add to their Calendar

Salmon remains on the banks of the Talkeetna River. Photo: Ben Rowell

October 5 – North Pacific Fishery Management Council

From the Mat-Su Borough:

Federal Management of Cook Inlet Salmon?

An important meeting for fisheries STARTS on Monday at the Hilton in Anchorage.

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council manages the salmon fisheries in the US Exclusive Economic Zone, 3 nautical miles to 200 nautical miles off shore from Alaska.

In response to a 9th Circuit Court ruling, the Council is considering how to revise the Fishery Management Plan for 3 areas, including Cook Inlet.

The implication: fisheries management for Cook Inlet could return to what it was before statehood—federal management. This could cause profound changes in management for all types of users in Cook Inlet including, set netters, sports fishers, subsistence users, dip netters, guides, etc.  Continue reading “3 Things Mat-Su Anglers Should Add to their Calendar”

International Fly Fishing Film Festival Lands in Palmer on Friday

Tarpon Face Orvis Glove
Giant tarpon are what the boys are after in The Jungles Edge, IF4™ 2017

The International Fly Fishing Film Festival (IF4™) returns to Palmer’s Glenn Massay Theater on the Mat-Su College campus this week, fresh off a sold out show in Anchorage.

IF4™ films showcase the passion, lifestyle, and culture of fly fishing, but Friday’s show isn’t just for fly fishers. All anglers, no matter the preferred gear choice, will enjoy the unique stories, stunning landscapes, and incredible fish that make these films standout during this golden era of fishing flicks.

Tickets for Friday’s show are available at Mossy’s Fly Shop and online at until Thursday night for $15. Tickets will also be available at the door for $18.  Continue reading “International Fly Fishing Film Festival Lands in Palmer on Friday”

International Fly Fishing Film Festival Returns to Palmer & Anchorage in September

if4-2017-poster-master-noeventinfospace-bleedsThe International Fly Fishing Film Festival (IF4™) returns to Palmer and Anchorage this month.

What is IF4™?

IF4™ consists of short and feature length films produced by professional filmmakers from all corners of the globe, showcasing the passion, lifestyle and culture of fly fishing.

Friday, September 22, 7:30pm
49th State Brewing Company
Happy Hour, hosted by Trout Unlimited, begins at 5:30pm

Friday, September 29, 7:30pm
Glenn Massay Theater

$15 purchased in advance at Mossy’s Fly Shop and
$18 at the door (if available)

IF4’s local sponsors include FisheWear, Cache Campers, Mossy’s Fly Shop, and Southcentral Alaska Chapter of Trout Unlimited.

The Orvis “20 Days in September” Contest – Part 2

#1 son reeled in this Montana Creek rainbow in early September.

Early last week I wrote about Orvis 20 Days in September contest, where the goal is to get twenty days of fishing in this month. The contest stemmed from Orvis editor Phil Monahan’s lack of days on the water in July 2014, so he challenged himself to get out at least 20 times in September. The following year he challenged the Orvis community to do the same and it’s now an annual contest. I decided to participate in the challenge and post my progress here.

So we’re fourteen days into September and here’s how I’m doing…  Continue reading “The Orvis “20 Days in September” Contest – Part 2”

The Orvis “20 Days in September” Contest – Part 1

Phil Monahan 2016 calendar
Phil Monahan’s 2016 20 in September calendar. Photo: Phil Monahan (

Orvis editor Phil Monahan didn’t fish very much during the summer of 2014. To make up for his lack of fishing, he challenged himself to fish 20 days in September. Twenty days on the water is probably way more than most of us get each month but I think it can be done, especially if you live in the Mat-Su Valley, where we are spoiled with fishing options. Monaghan wrote about his 20 Days in September Project back in 2014 and has since challenged Orvis fans to do the same with the Orvis 20 in September Contest.

I became aware of the contest just two days ago, September 1, and immediately decided that it was something I wanted to try. Here’s how it works (from  Continue reading “The Orvis “20 Days in September” Contest – Part 1”

Trip Report: Montana Creek (August 27, 2017)

Rainbow trout caught in upper Montana Creek. Photo: Ben Rowell

We pulled up to Carrs at 8am to grab breakfast and a few snacks for the day. Being a member of the Facebook group Stop Valley Thieves has made me paranoid about leaving anything in the back of a pickup truck, so I threw my gear in the cab, locked the door, and went inside. When we got back to the truck, my fishing partner, Kory, had a slight look of concern on his face. Why? Because I locked the keys in his truck. Definitely not a good way to start a fishing trip. Fortunately, Kory use to steal cars (just kidding) and had us back in the truck in about ten minutes. The day was saved.  Continue reading “Trip Report: Montana Creek (August 27, 2017)”

3 Takeaways from MSB Fish & Wildlife Commission Meeting

Mat-Su Borough Assembly Chambers at the start of Tuesday meeting. Photo: Ben Rowell

On Tuesday, August 22, the Matanuska Susitna Borough Fish and Wildlife Commission held a special meeting with representatives from ADF&G to discuss concerns about recent Upper Cook Inlet fish management decisions. In attendance were commission members, ADF&G Commissioner Sam Cotten, Tom Brookover, ADF&G Director of the Division of Sport Fish, Scott Kelley, ADF&G Director of the Divisions of Commercial Fisheries, and about 125 Mat-Su residents and elected officials. The meeting was scheduled to run from 5pm to 7pm but ran an hour longer to accommodate public testimony.

Here are my three takeaways from the meeting.  Continue reading “3 Takeaways from MSB Fish & Wildlife Commission Meeting”

Susitna River Coho Limit Increased to Four Per Day


In a easily predicted move that some may consider a political calculation, ADF&G increased the limit for coho salmon effective today at 5pm. Also today at 5pm, the Matanuska-Susitna Borough Fish and Wildlife Commission is set to meet with ADF&G commissioner and directors, along with Mat-Su residents, about the commercial harvest of 90,000 coho salmon head to Upper Cook Inlet rivers. Coincidence? I think not.

Tonight’s meeting is from 5pm to 7pm at the Mat-Su Borough building in Palmer and is open to the public.  Continue reading “Susitna River Coho Limit Increased to Four Per Day”

3 Good Articles: It’s Not Our Fault Edition


During my quest to learn more about how Mat-Su Valley fisheries are managed, I’ve come across a few good reads that Mat-Su sport anglers may find interesting. As usual, they include a lot of finger pointing.

It’s the Sport Angler’s Fault

The first is Little Susitna River Salmon History from 1886 to 2012, produced by Roland Maw, PhD, United Cook Inlet Drift Association (UCIDA) Executive Director and Audrey Salmon, UCIDA Office Manager, in 2013.

In this report, UCIDA lays out its argument for why coho salmon runs have declined in the Little Su, including laying blame on in-river users (sport anglers) for over harvesting the resource.  Continue reading “3 Good Articles: It’s Not Our Fault Edition”